In 2018, Monte Cook games Released invisible sun, A massive tabletop game where players assume the role of vislae – newly awakened wizards who have returned to travel across the planes of existence in order to hone their magic after exile. It was delivered in a Literal black box It was sold almost immediately, becoming a valuable collector’s item and a piece of art An instant cult classic.
A new crowdfunding campaign for the reprint was launched, and within hours, Invisible sun‘s comeback was fully funded. io9 got on the phone with Charles Ryan, CEO of Monte Cook Games, who said he was thrilled with the support. “There’s obviously some pent-up demand,” Ryan said. “When I say sold out, I mean we sold out…there were no black cubes at the MCG, nothing in the warehouses, they were not available.” Ryan mentioned that some employees gave up their personal copies to meet demand.
The game is surreal and strange. Our world exists on one level, but you play the game within other levels of existence. The game, at its core, is about subverting expectations and forcing people to ask questions about the world around them. “It’s about how you combine things in an unexpected way. We’ve all seen a cat and we’ve all seen a snail. But when you combine them, it gives people pause,” Ryan said. “A big part of Invisible sun It is that the concrete world in which we live, where everything is known and provable, is a lie. The actual realities of the universe are broader than what we are a part of.
The game evokes a sense of wonder and delight, with an emphasis on strange and immersive beauty as the characters create their own directions in this world. In order to get there mechanically, Ryan said: “You need a system that allows you to get unexpected results. You have to make it feel magical. There are at least four magic systems in the game, but they are all driven by the tarot-like Sooth deck.” Which will affect the magic aspects of the game.
Because the players are all wizards, Sooth’s party represents an immediate change of heart for the characters themselves. “As you turn over these cards, you will mechanically influence the world on a turn-by-turn or scene-by-scene basis.” Ryan explained that this means players think about what they can do “in the moment” rather than what their character sheet says they can do.
The other key to this game, in a sort of meta-evolution of the setting, is when the game occurs even outside the clear frame of the table. “You can create scenes away from the game table and come back and have a conversation with the DM and present the story narratively,” Ryan said. These are called “side scenes,” and players can do this together, going to the GM, who can [use] One Sooth card to give players the decision.
Invisible sun It’s based on the Cypher system, which was first introduced at the MCG’s Numinara In 2013, it is designed to focus on building rich character and connections. “The characters progress by pursuing their goals,” Ryan explained. “And the characters actually have to experience joy and despair in order to progress.”
The game may be intimidating, but Monte Cook and the designers worked hard to make sure there were easy ways to engage players. There are stripped down versions of character sheets that allow people into the game, and world building allows characters to enter the game through the different levels.
One of the new products that Monte Cook hopes to introduce could help solve this intimidation problem, as even experienced players may find Invisible sun Overwhelming to start. Wellspring will open after 656 backers (which, considering at the time of writing, Backerkit’s count was at around 500, seems incredibly likely), and “will be based on the idea of giving you a place to start as you build these characters in that first session and develop… All their hooks. [The Wellspring] It will also give GMs ideas on how to use those hooks in the scheme.
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